Series of online sessions will focus on education, medicine, sustainability, AI, and social progress

As the world comes together with the aim of accelerating progress toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals that hold the key to the sustainability and equality of the planet, Qatar Foundation is contributing to this vital global conversation – through a series of virtual events designed to share ideas and find solutions.

The 2020 Global Goals Week will take place from 18-26 September, as the United Nations (UN) highlights the extent of the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on prospects for realising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities being hit the hardest. It will include Global Goals Day on 25 September, the 5th anniversary of the SDGs being agreed, as a call to action is sounded for everyone to play their part in ensuring they are achieved by 2030.

Under the theme ‘Global Challenges, Local Solutions,’ QF and many of its entities will host an array of online sessions from 20-30 September, where speakers from around the world will explore potential solutions to the challenges the world is facing in five key areas: precision medicine, social progress, disruptive education, sustainability, and artificial intelligence. These events reflect the role of QF, which is marking its 25th anniversary this year, in enabling global-level, solution-focused dialogue, and advancing innovative thinking and action. Aysha Al Mudahka, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Partnership Development, QF said that 2020 marks the start of a decade that must see collective, tangible action in order to secure the future.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken global society, it has also only increased the urgency to take this action. Global Goals Week is an opportunity for everyone to unite their voice and commitment to addressing issues as important as any we will ever face, share ideas, and work together to address the world’s most pressing challenges. Through the virtual platforms for dialogue and knowledge exchange we have organised, Qatar Foundation – which, for 25 years, has been dedicated to identifying and delivering solutions that benefit Qatar and the world – aims to support this global effort to build a stronger, more sustainable, and more equal planet. From the future of education to the role of Artificial Intelligence in healthcare, we are inviting the world to join us and our line-up of international experts and thought-leaders, as we seek to find and foster local solutions to global challenges.

One of the cornerstones of QF’s contribution to Global Goals Week will be a panel discussion on Wednesday, 23 September, at 3:30 pm Doha time, titled ‘COVID-19 and Education: The Largest Disruption in the History of Education,’ focusing on questions such as whether the pandemic presents an opportunity to rethink education and shift mindsets, and if education leaders are ready to embrace such change.

HE Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation, will be joined in the discussion by HE Danilo Türk, former President of Slovenia; Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme; Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University; Gabriela Cuevas Barron, President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union; and Sarah Cliffe, Director of the Center on International Cooperation, New York University.

Meanwhile, ‘Glocalizing Education for a Sustainable Future,’ taking place at 8:15 pm Doha time on Wednesday, 30 September, will look at how K-12 students can learn more about how to relate the Global Goals to their local context and their lives, and how they can be empowered to take tangible action toward realising these goals in their own communities. Speakers will be Sheikha Noof Al-Thani, Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives and Partnership Development within QF’s Pre-University Education; Mehdi Benchaabane, Director of QF’s Education Development Institute; Sam Barratt, Chief of the Youth, Education and Advocacy Unit at the UN Environment Programme; Dr Nicole Bien, Director of Learning & Teaching, International Baccalaureate; and Alison Bellwood, Director of The World’s Largest Lesson.

QF’s contribution to Global Goals Week kicks off on Sunday, 20 September, as Doha Debates plays host to a discussion on ‘New Institutions for a New Era?’ while on Friday, 25 September, members of Qatar’s national debate team and students from Harvard University will tackle the topic ‘Is Multilateralism in Crisis?’ in a session led by QF member QatarDebate.

Monday, 28 September, will see QF member Hamad Bin Khalifa University host a session titled ‘Educate to Eradicate: Extremism – What’s Next Post-COVID?’ reflecting how education’s role in keeping extremism at bay is perhaps more crucial than ever. The following day, the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) – QF’s global education think-tank – will launch its special edition e-book, ‘Education Disrupted: Education Reimagined’ containing perspectives from the frontline of education during the pandemic, followed by a panel discussion featuring speakers from WISE and the book’s partner Salzburg Global Register, and contributors.

On Tuesday, 29 September, the use of Artificial Intelligence and bioinformatics to find existing drugs that could be repurposed to treat COVID-19 will be the topic of ‘Calculating The Cure: AI and COVID-19’ a session led by the World Innovation Summit for Health, QF’s global health initiative.

For more details about QF’s Global Goals Week virtual sessions, and to register for the discussions, visit www.qf.org.qa/united-nations-global-goals-week